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Larry Bond's First Team: Soul of the Assassin

Larry Bond's First Team: Soul of the Assassin

2.5 2
by Larry Bond, Jim DeFelice

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When the CIA is tipped off that one of its most wanted men is going to be in Bologna, Italy, Ferg and the First Team are tasked to apprehend him at any cost--but under no circumstances can Italian authorities be made aware. There is just one problem: no one has seen the man in over ten years, and he is only known by a decades-old code-name: T-Rex.


When the CIA is tipped off that one of its most wanted men is going to be in Bologna, Italy, Ferg and the First Team are tasked to apprehend him at any cost--but under no circumstances can Italian authorities be made aware. There is just one problem: no one has seen the man in over ten years, and he is only known by a decades-old code-name: T-Rex. This assassin has been involved in the murder of at least a dozen prominent western leaders, and the grapevine reveals he's been called out of a long, silent hiding for one more major strike.  Ferg and the Team arrive in Italy, where they recruit the help of a beautiful French Samaritan named Jane Foucoult. Her knowledge leads them on a search that goes behind the scenes of a conference on genetics and onto a trail to a sinister Russian scientist, a leader at the forefront of biological-weapons research. Splitting the team in two, Ferg and Guns go after the ghosts they speculate could be T-Rex, and Rankin and Thera get on the scientist's tail. But what they uncover is way beyond a single assassination attempt, and they find themselves about to go head-to-head with the most lethal terrorist cells known to man.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The troops of the small Special Ops force in this latest novel by Bond (Red Phoenix, etc.) spend about equal time bantering with each other and blowing up stuff: buildings, vehicles and even thugs who stand in their way. Aside from its inherent entertainment value (which is considerable), this is a good formula because it allows Bond and coauthor DeFelice to smoothly fold in an enormous amount of exposition and to introduce, over the course of a hundred or so short chapters, the individual members of Joint Services Special Demands Project Office, known to insiders as simply the Team, for the novel is the kickoff of a projected series about the new war on terror. Smooth, shrewd Bob Ferguson leads them, engineering their escape from a tricky trap in Kyrgyzstan early on. The MacGuffin: a planned meeting with Russian wheeler dealer Alex Sheremetev in Kyrgyzstan goes awry when Ferg finds Sheremetev's murdered corpse. Before you can say frameup, local police have arrested Team member Jack "Guns" Young (a Marine and language expert) for the crime. It's up to Ferg, Connors (the old man and explosives expert) and Rankin (the young hothead) to rescue Guns and find the real killer-and that's just for starters. Back in Washington, Corrine Alston, chief adviser to the new president, disdains the maverick modus operandi of the Team and Ferg in particular, so much so that she flies to Russia to confront and control him. Her slow journey from skeptic to supporter is the novel's most entertaining and mainstream plot thread, the reader on her shoulder as she's immersed in the rough and tumble adventures of the Team. This is a solid series debut. Agent, Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Mason's 1902 classic adventure about British army officer Harry Feversham's endeavor to overcome the false label of "coward" is back again in an affordable paperback. Although this has already been filmed at least four times, it is about to go before the cameras once again, so be sure to have a few copies on your shelves. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A mythically capable CIA operative leads a team of intrepid, off-the-books warriors in a battle to defuse a terrorist dead-set on the destruction of Honolulu. Bond's (The Enemy Within, 1996) army of readers, who expect the full armory of barely even invented, occasionally imaginary gadgets to be deployed at a breakneck pace, will be thoroughly satisfied with this first-in-a-series collaboration with the useful Jim DeFelice, who has helped out fellow technowarriors Stephen Coontz and Dale Brown. The threat to everything we hold dear is seldom-seen Samman Bin Saqr, a terrorist who makes bin Laden look like a piker. Bin Saqr has laid low for five years, all the while accumulating atomic waste from dirty corners of the old Soviet empire. His plan is to irradiate Honolulu and its hinterland so thoroughly that it will be uninhabitable for eons and the great Satan will be more humbled than ever. Fortunately for the great Satan, there is Bob Ferguson, a CIA operative who, even though he's walking around with thyroid cancer, is capable of navigating the treacherous slopes and deserts of the Stans, firing any number of weapons from the hip, outfoxing Russian intelligence officers, sending scores of scurvy Chechnyans to their makers, and ordering off the menu in any number of obscure southwest Asian languages. Ferguson's been on the case of the missing nuclear waste for some time, a hunt that keeps putting him in Chechnyan rebel territory, but he's always got a way out of the jams he and "The Team," his band of army and marine merrymakers, crash into. He may have met his match, however, in brilliant, 26-year-old presidential counselor Corinne Atkins, his new boss. Corinne has been ordered to take aclose look at both The Team and The Threat, orders that jet her to the Chechnyan front, where Ferguson, who has no use for her, has followed Bin Saqr's scent nearly to the abandoned Soviet air base where the poisonous 747 is ready to fly. Action on every page. Maybe in every paragraph. $200,000 ad/promo; author tour. Agent: Robert Gottlieb/Trident Media Group
From the Publisher

“Action on every page. Maybe in every paragraph.” —Kirkus Reviews on Larry Bond's First Team

“The technothriller has a new ace and his name is Larry Bond.” —Tom Clancy

“[A] fast-paced, complex thriller.” —Publishers Weekly on Larry Bond's First Team: Angels of Wrath

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Larry Bond's First Team Series , #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Death had never particularly interested Bob Ferguson as a subject of study. It was a fact in and of itself, without nuance. His religious instruction—Ferguson had gone to parochial schools and a Catholic college—taught him to view death as a necessary passage, but the nuns, brothers, and priests who had instructed him tended to focus on either side of the gateway, rather than death itself.

As a CIA officer assigned to the Agency’s covert Special Demands team, Ferguson had had a great deal of experience with death; he had often been its agent and provocateur. Still, his relationship was purely professional; he remained neither intrigued nor moved by any aspect of the subject itself. The end of life was simply the end of life. The manner of its coming rarely interested him.

Ferguson’s nonplussed expression as the video played on the small screen at the end of the study bothered his host, CIA Director Thomas Parnelles. Unlike Ferguson, Parnelles contemplated death a great deal. It bothered him, especially in its most brutal forms, and particularly when it involved someone he knew. The fact that the death on the screen involved both was particularly upsetting; it had happened to a man who worked for him, and required justice, if not vengeance.

Parnelles had known Ferguson for a very long time—since Ferguson was born, in fact. He had been Ferguson’s father’s closest friend, and on more than one occasion served in loco parentis when Ferguson Sr. was out of the country. Parnelles assumed because of these things not only that he knew the young man well, but that Ferguson shared his feelings on any matter worthy of having one. So the half smile on Ferguson’s face, the completely unmoved expression that was characteristic of the young man, annoyed Parnelles greatly. He finally reached over and clicked the laptop key to end the video just as it focused on the dead man’s battered skull.

Unsure why the video had stopped, Ferguson took a sip of bourbon from the tumbler Parnelles had given him earlier. The liquor burned pleasantly at his throat as it went down.

“Technical problems, General?” Ferguson asked.

“There’s not much more,” said Parnelles. He flipped off the laptop, momentarily shrouding the study in darkness. When he turned on the light, Ferguson had the exact same expression on his face. “Are you feeling all right, Bobby?”

“Never better.”

“North Korea was difficult, I know.”

“Change of pace.” Ferguson tilted the glass. The bourbon was Johnny Drum Private Stock, a well-aged small-batch whiskey more distinctive than such standards as Maker’s Mark or Jim Beam. That was one thing about Parnelles—he did not have standard anything.

“Ordinarily, I would tell you to sit down for a while, and take some time off,” said Parnelles. “More than the few days you’ve had. But this is a priority. This is important.”

“Not a problem.”

“After this, maybe you should take two or three months off. Lay on the beach.”

“I’ll just get bored.” Ferguson leaned forward, stretching his back and neck. “So Michael Dalton was killed in Puys, France, two years ago. Then what happens?”

“Then we spend two years trying to figure out who did it.” Parnelles took his own drink from the edge of his desk and walked over to the chair near Ferguson. He told himself he was seeing the younger man’s professional distance, nothing more. “We found this video from the bank’s surveillance camera. We re-created Dalton’s movements. We checked everyone who had stayed in the hotels nearby for up to two weeks before.”

“Why was he there?”


Ferguson smirked.

“No, really, he was taking a vacation,” said Parnelles. “This is an out-of-the-way town on the Channel. He liked France, and he’d just spent a year in Asia. So it was different.”

“What did the French say about the murder?”

Parnelles settled down in his seat and took a sip of his drink—Scotch—before answering.

“The local police, of course, were incompetent. They believed it was a terrorist attack.”

“Just because a car blew up?”

“I really don’t know why you’re being sarcastic, Robert. You’re not taking this seriously.”

Ferguson took another sip of the bourbon. Generally Parnelles wasn’t quite this worked up. In fact, Ferguson couldn’t remember the last time Parnelles had briefed him personally on a mission—let alone asked him up to Maine to do so.

“Yes, it did look as if it were the work of terrorists,” admitted Parnelles. “But why terrorists would blow up a car at that place and time—of course the police had no answers. A small village on the French coast? Terrorists would never operate there. Clearly, Dalton was the target. We went to the ministry, of course, but they got it into their heads that we were lying.”

“About what?”

“That Michael was working, instead of being on vacation.”

“Was he?”

“You’re being very contrary tonight, Robert. I just told you he wasn’t.”

Bad publicity about the CIA’s secret rendition program had caused a great deal of friction in Europe just prior to Dalton’s death. The French believed that the Agency was withholding information about what Dalton had been working on—they thought it involved something in France—and in Parnelles’s view had been less than cooperative out of spite.

Ferguson—who admittedly had never cared much for anything French, let alone their spies—knew that the French security service seldom displayed anything approaching alacrity, even when pursuing their own priorities. But he let that observation pass.

“If Dalton was targeted, then something must have happened in Asia,” Ferguson told Parnelles. “What was it?”

“Unimportant, Bob. The point is, what I’m getting to—we know who killed him. He was a contract killer known as T Rex.”

“Like the dinosaur.”

“Exactly. He kills everything in his wake. He’s extreme. T Rex.”

Actually the name had been used in a text message intercepted by the National Security Agency just before another assassination, this one of a wealthy businessman visiting Lisbon. Ferguson had already seen the information in the text brief of his mission. There had been other “jobs” as well: T Rex had been implicated in the murder of a Thai government minister and a suspected fund-raiser for Hezbollah, to name just two. Parnelles ran down the list of known and suspected victims, impressive in both length and variety.

Tired of sitting, Ferguson began bouncing his right leg up and down. His foot was just touching the fringe of a hand-woven wool rug Parnelles had retrieved from Iran toward the end of the shah’s reign—bad days, Parnelles had said once. It was all he said, ever, on the subject to Ferguson.

“You seem distracted, Bobby.” Parnelles glanced at Ferg’s foot, tapping on the carpet.

“Foot fell asleep.” Ferguson bounded up from the chair. “Can’t sit too long.”

He did a little jig in front of the chair. “So what’s the real story, General? Who is T Rex?”

“We don’t know.”

“The Israelis hired him, and we can’t figure it out?”

“The Israelis didn’t hire him,” said Parnelles. “Hezbollah has a lot of enemies. Including Hezbollah itself.”

“So what do you want me to do?”

“Figure out who he is. Apprehend him. Bring him here for trial.”

“That’s what Slott told me this afternoon.” Ferguson glanced at his watch. “Yesterday afternoon.”

He got up from the chair and walked around the study. It was as familiar to him as his own condo—more so. He’d played hide-and-seek here as a kid.

Taking T Rex in Italy was sensitive. The Agency was still smarting over a well-publicized trial of several of its members, fortunately in absentia, for the rendition of a suspected terrorist a few years before. The Italian court had found that the man was not a terrorist and had been kidnapped by the CIA, albeit with help from the Italian secret services. The political situation argued for the use of the elite First Team—officially, the Office of Special Demands—a small group of highly trained operatives headed by Ferguson and occasionally assisted by a Special Forces army group.

But the job might have been done by other CIA agents, including a special paramilitary team trained in renditions.

“So when I bring back T Rex,” said Ferguson, “what happens? You put him on trial?”

Parnelles frowned.

“If a situation develops where he can’t be brought to trial,” he said, picking his words very carefully, “that would be something we could all live with.”

Copyright © 2008 by Larry Bond and Jim DeFelice. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Larry Bond is the author of several bestselling military thrillers, including Crash Dive, Cold Choices, Dangerous Ground, Red Phoenix and the Larry Bond's First Team and Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising series. He was a naval officer for six years. He's also worked as a warfare analyst and antisubmarine technology expert, and he now writes and designs computer games, including Harpoon and Command at Sea. He makes his home in Springfield, Virginia.

Jim DeFelice is the author of thrillers including Leopards Kill and Threat Level Black. He has also collaborated with Stephen Coonts and Dale Brown. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley region.

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Larry Bond's First Team: Soul of the Assassin 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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